By Andrew Wasike
NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) - The Kenya Ports Authority (KPS) said Wednesday that the previous day it received a modern Turkish-built tugboat with fire-fighting (Fi-Fi) capabilities that will offer supplementary protection to port facilities and ships.
The Mwokozi 2, Istanbul, has an Azimuth Stern Drive equipped with two stern engines capable of generating an all-around directional propulsion force.
Mwokozi is the Swahili word for “savior,” KPA said on the arrival of the tugboat that was given a water cannon salute by a flotilla of tugs and pilot cutters on her maiden voyage to the Port of Mombasa.
“The vessel has been constructed and equipped according to Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) requirements. (The) Port of Mombasa received a new state-of-the-art tugboat RAstar 4200 built in Turkey at a cost of 1.9 billion shillings ($16.7 million),” said KPA.
The high-performance tug joins KPA’s fleet of tugboats to primarily offer salvage and harbor operations.
“Equipped with excellent maneuverability and packing a hefty 120 tonnes (132.3 US tons) of bollard pull, the vessel with a length overall of 42 metres (138 feet) and maximum draft of 7.2 metres (24 feet) will deliver enhanced towing and ship handling services for vessels stuck at sea or with mechanical problems,” it said.
This is not the first time that Kenya is looking to Turkiye for heavy-duty machinery.
The Kenyan army placed an order last year for 118 high-performance armored personnel carriers from Turkiye, saying it was focused on ensuring the safety of troops fighting al-Shabaab insurgents.